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By Eric Omwombo 

Siaya Governor James Aggrey Bob Orengo and CDC Program Director Division of Global HIV/TB Jennifer Galreath have reached agreement on extending support towards puting up comprehensive strategies meant to tackle and protect HIV patients.

Orengo had requested the CDC not to cut support towards the HIV prevention strategies.
The leaders said they will continue supporting the programme so as to ensure gains realized in the previous years as far as fight against HIV is concerned are not lost.

“We have established that the budget that was facilitating the programme is decreasing and so it would be good to invest on sustainability strategies so as not to lose gains realized since 2003.
“We are doing the transition because the PEPFER was an emergency plan and in 2003 when it was introduced people were dying, so we had to respond by putting resources on programes that aimed at reducing the scourge in Siaya,” said Galbreath.

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So far, 97 percent of patients are on ARVs and viral load is suppressed. The mother-to-child transmission has reduced to 4.3 percent from 8.4 percent in 2015.

So we need to take up the model and make it leaner so that resources can be diverted to run equally important programmes.

“We are committed towards puting necessary strategies that would see the programme sustained against whatever is going on in the United States of America,” she added.

She asked County Government leadership and health department to figure out how HIV program should look like and best ways to make it most efficient.

We must work out on how to make facilities to be integrated OPP HIV program or make some of them stand alone due to high number.

“We look upon you to figure out best approach. We are ready to support you towards such initiatives,” said Galbreth.

Orengo lauded US-PEPFER program for Siaya saying it had reduced HIV prevalence significantly.

Orengo said the PEPFER program should not exit, yet, because the region is burdened with so many diseases.

“Even if we continue allocating 30 percent of the County budget on health with the delay by National government to remit resources to county, the health programs won’t be effectively addressed. This partnership must continue, we must be more innovative, sometimes we don’t need to get financial support but information and technology,” said Governor Orengo.

The Health Executive Dr Martin K’Onyango echoed Orengo’s statements saying the US- PEPFER is the leading donor supporting health sector in Siaya.

“Under PEPFER, CDC contributed the highest donor funds .they have been supporting programs that have seen TB and HIV reduced. In fact from 2015, HIV has reduced right from 29 percent to about 13 percent.” K’Onyango further said the documents they have signed were prepared by county technical team, CDC and Center of Health Solutions for the past two years.

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